A Cure For Small Business IT Aches & Pains: It’s In The Cloud
New technology can make the lives of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) more complicated.
In a survey conducted by Techaisle, a small and medium sized business (SMB) market research organization, 54 percent of SMBs claimed that their IT difficulties actually increased over the past 3 years. Another 39 percent said these IT struggles outweighed their business challenges.
As these small businesses constantly find themselves dealing with IT issues rather than reaping the benefits of these solutions, precious time and resources are being diverted from identifying new market opportunities to grow their business.
The potential benefits of new technology though are huge: with the rise of Big Data, increasing amounts of information are available to small businesses from the places that consumers visit to express themselves, such as Facebook “likes” on a product, or “check-ins” via mobile device applications like Foursquare. These pieces of information, when looked at as a whole, give SMBs the ability to get to know their customers in a whole new way. It can certainly be intimidating though. According to IDC’s Digital Universe Study, the digital universe doubles every year, generating 2 zettabytes this year compared to just 1 last year.
With this data influx growing every day, there is a pressing need to simplify IT more than ever, but many SMBs just don’t have the bandwidth or the resources to spare for effectively dealing with their IT aches. According to Techaisle, 72 percent of SMBs say that IT vendors should simplify their technology offerings, to make them easier to implement. This presents a real opportunity for technology providers that offer SMBs personalized solutions, which integrate with other business tools and are easy to understand.
So that they can focus on generating new revenue streams and increasing profits rather than curing IT headaches, many SMBs are turning to Managed Service Providers (MSPs). The MSPs provide the resources to deal with these technical obstacles, so that employees can shift their focus back to growing and improving the business. In addition, MSPs provide skilled IT expertise, very often specific to different industries, which allows the SMB user to increase their technical capabilities while maintaining cohesiveness.
Through cloud-based analytics solutions, many MSPs are helping their small and midsized clients store and analyze vast amounts of data without risking a drop-off in performance,e and without the small business owner incurring the cost of running and maintaining the necessary tools. By harnessing the power of Big Data, SMBs can gain valuable insight to help shape the direction of their business.
The point is, SMBs need to take advantage of advanced IT solutions, while vendors and third parties need to simplify the management of these solutions. This combination will lead to better business without taking away any opportunities for growth.
By Andy Monshaw
General Manager, IBM Global Midmarket Business